Airbnb last-minute cancellation

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May 31, 2019
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#1
I decided to extend a professional trip to Aspen, Colorado, into a vacation via Airbnb. Because the vacation coincides with the Aspen Food and Wine Festival, I made reservations far in advance—in January. The reservation was confirmed by the “host” and a deposit was taken.

In late May the “host” informed us she would have to cancel the reservation because she had not been able to reach the owner. We were surprised and dismayed that a reservation would be confirmed without checking with the owner. A few days later she said she had reached the owner and everything would be OK; a few days after that she wrote to say the owner would be staying in the unit and cancelled the reservation. By that time--two weeks before departure--there were few remaining listings. She offered another unit that was more expensive and not as nice.

This is unacceptable. Brokers should not confirm a reservation with a renter unless and until they have confirmed with the owner. Listings should identify whether the "host" is the owner or otherwise has the ability to make a firm commitment, or whether the "host" is mearly a broker who cannot make a firm commitment.

Even worse, I discovered that there is no way for me to leave feedback about the “host” because the reservation was cancelled. It is inexcusable that Airbnb offers no way to leave feedback about irresponsible "hosts” who cancel on short notice.

I encourage anyone who uses Airbnb to ask the "host" whether they are the owner and, if not, whether they have confirmed with the owner that the unit is available. Also look at the host reviews to see whether there are any automatically generated messages indicating cancellations.
 
May 31, 2019
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#3
Yes. They were of no help. They simply pointed out that other listings for that time were available. They said they were "sorry" that I could not offer a review of the host; that was possible only if I had stayed at the unit, but not if the reservation was cancelled. There also is no way to discern on the Airbnb site whether a host is not the owner or legal tenant of the unit. If I use Airbnb in the future, I will avoid hosts that have multiple listings, and which have any record of cancellations.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,292
2,693
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Maui Hawaii
#4
Yes. They were of no help. They simply pointed out that other listings for that time were available. They said they were "sorry" that I could not offer a review of the host; that was possible only if I had stayed at the unit, but not if the reservation was cancelled. There also is no way to discern on the Airbnb site whether a host is not the owner or legal tenant of the unit. If I use Airbnb in the future, I will avoid hosts that have multiple listings, and which have any record of cancellations.
Reach out to the contacts above. Email starting at the first contact and if no/negative response, go to the next after a week. Repeat weekly until you exhaust the list.
 
Apr 9, 2019
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#5
I believe Air BnB does track host cancellations, and remove them if they have "too many," whatever that may mean. I think you should send your concerns in writing. My experience as a host with Air BnB is that they are constantly trying to improve the platform and experience. That said, as a guest I once had a last minute cancellation by a host, and we were a party of 4, with 4 pets! Air BnB was confused and not helpful at all. The listings they could recommend were 30 miles away and much more expensive. I spent 3 almost sleepless days and nights trying to find something, since the other 2 people were flying in on non-refundable tickets. It was a nightmare. That was a few years back, and they did remove the host... although that didn't help me!
 
Likes: Warren

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
Did you involve Airbnb at the time of the cancellation through the resolution center? Typically if a host cancels a reservation at the last minute, the Airbnb resolution team will help re-house you and if there is a higher cost, Airbnb often absorbs the cost. But you must go through the Airbnb Resolution Center for assistance.

Here is an article we published over the weekend that explains your options when a host cancels at the last minute:

https://www.elliott.org/blog/strange-airbnb-problem-host-canceled/

Ps. If a host cancels a reservation the system is set up to automatically publicly mark the listing as one in which the host has canceled in the past.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#9
And this is the drawback of Airbnb. They are merely a listing agent and really don’t get involved in issues between a guest and host unless it is really egregious. They should have found you another accommodation.
They did offer another accommodation, but our OP didn't like it.
 
Oct 22, 2019
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#11
As a host, if you cancel an airbnb listing you have that automatically noted in your reviews, that you cancelled on a guest and when. You are also charged a penalty fee, and you cannot have a superhost status for 3 months. So there were most likely penalties to your host. However it is inexcusable that the host did not have control of the listing that they booked you for.
 
Likes: Neil Maley